Josephine Bosma on Tue, 18 Feb 2003 16:34:02 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-nl] achtergrond bush spam

New York Times February 10, 2003

E-Mail Spam Scam Is Sent in Bush's Name


At first, the e-mail message reads like all the others:
There's the need for confidentiality. An assurance that the
transaction is completely legal. And the inevitable appeal,
in awkwardly formal language, for help in procuring a large
amount of money. 

This may come to you as a surprise (to borrow the language
of such e-mail notes), but the message was not sent by
someone claiming to be an African potentate's heir. Instead,
it says, it was written by President Bush, the son of a
former president, who seeks your urgent assistance in
financing the removal of Iraq's leader. His "trusted
intermediary" for the transaction: the Internal Revenue

The spoof was written by Zoltan Grossman, a geography professor
at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. Like most people
in the wired world, Professor Grossman, 41, has been swamped
with e-mail messages from Nigeria and other foreign lands,
seemingly sincere solicitations that are really schemes
designed to defraud gullible recipients with promises of quick

Although Professor Grossman routinely deletes such messages, he
was prompted to write his parody after Mr. Bush's efforts to
raise economic and political support for a war on Iraq began to
remind him of the messages from Nigerian spammers. 

"They're all from the son or daughter of a former ruler," he
said. "A lot of them talk about oil money. And they need huge
sums of cash very quickly. I thought, Why does this sound so

Professor Grossman sent his spoof to two Web sites on Jan. 21,
and it has spread rapidly from there. The full message can be
read at The parody is a witty variation
on a vintage scam. Its victims are promised a big payoff if they
supply money to gain access to, say, a bank account. Of course,
the payoff never materializes.

The Nigerian Fraud E-Mail Gallery, at, holds
420 different examples. Lawrence Kestenbaum, a researcher at the
University of Michigan who is the site's operator, said he had
1,000 more entries to add.

A White House spokesman said he had not seen Professor
Grossman's sham spam. Nor are unsuspecting readers likely to be
duped by the spoof, in part because its stilted prose differs
from Mr. Bush's colloquial style. 

Still, Professor Grossman said, "Let's hope no one takes it
seriously and actually donates," as the e-mail requests, 10
to 25 percent of one's annual income. 


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